A Letter to the Parent's Television Council

So I'm confused. I really haven't been this confused in a long time; and I'm a sophomore in college, so that's saying something. I guess I should give you some context here. The Walking Dead is my favorite show, anyone who has spent more than a day with me knows that about me. And they all know that - when Season 7 premiered on October 23rd - I had my ass in front of that TV. Now, it took about a day for me to start seeing articles from you guys saying that the show "crossed the line" in terms of violence. I just want to know: you guys are actually joking, right? Because I've been trying to understand this for a week now and - so far - I've got nothing.

Okay, let's work through this here. First of all, the show you're complaining about is set in the actual apocalypse. The entire basis of the plot is driven by the fact that people have died and there is literally no hope left. That's kind of what an apocalypse does, guys. But here's my main problem: the Season 7 premiere featured 2 beloved characters being pretty savagely beaten to death by a barbed-wire wrapped baseball bat. This is the episode you choose to get mad about? I'm baffled. Yes, the deaths were brutal. And yes, viewers did get the pleasure of seeing some lingering close-ups of exploded heads and brains strewn everywhere. But anyone who watches the show knows that this is actually pretty tame for them. How about we talk about the time when Daryl stuck his fingers in a zombie's eye sockets and pulled his head off, with his spine attached? Or when they gutted a zombie on camera twice and covered themselves with its insides to get through a herd to safety?

Seriously, please explain to me what your problem was with this specific episode of The Walking Dead. Is it because the violence was inflicted on someone who was still living? In that case, we should probably be talking about the time when Noah got his face eaten off on camera while he was still alive. Or when Bob got his leg cut off and a group of cannibals ate it in front of him. Or, I don't know, let's count all the times where people got disemboweled and eaten alive. Because, after all, this is a show about goddamn zombies. You say that this show is using violence as a substitute for storytelling now. Well if that's the case, you should've started complaining years ago. Because The Walking Dead has been doing this stuff since Season 1. I just have to make sure, though. You're all fine with face-ripping and disembowelment, but you can't take some brains and a bloody baseball bat? Forgive me, I just have to see where you draw the line.

People love The Walking Dead. And they love all the blood and violence and gore that they can handle. Seriously, I think this show might just own the market for fake blood and brains. And hardcore fans who have been watching since Season 1 don't mind the brutality because they know that's how that world is supposed to be. Now in no way am I saying that this show is for kids. It is the absolute farthest thing from a family show; you and I can agree on that. But just because you're offended, doesn't mean that you have to make it your personal mission to make everyone else as offended as you. That scenario has a few possible outcomes and - in most of them - you're still going to come out as the bad guy. I'm sorry, but don't try to take away a loved show just because you think that you're little Jimmy can't handle it.

Kids are influenced a little bit by the TV they watch, but that is not the sole source of their education about the world around them. Kids learn from their parents, not the television. And that's where you come in. They spend more time with you and they spend more time watching you. Hell, for a good portion of their lives, they probably want to be you. If you don't want your kid to watch a show, take the remote and change the channel. Be a parent, not an asshole. And maybe - if your child is acting out because of a violent program - the first step should be turning off the damn TV and disciplining the child, not the program. It's not the TV show's fault if a child watches it, especially if it's a show like The Walking Dead that wasn't even meant for children to begin with. There are things called parental blocks; you're the parent, set the rules. Assholes raise assholes, it doesn't usually skip a generation. So, sad to say, if your kid turns out to be an ass, it's not the show's fault, it's probably you.

Is The Walking Dead a brutal show? Yes. Do they take it to the extreme sometimes? Absolutely. Look, you have every right to say that it's obviously not a show that families should be watching. But I still have yet to understand why you didn't say anything about it 6 years ago when the show came out. Because they have been coming up with new and creative ways to show blood and gore and the brutal violence of humanity since Season 1. You say that they're now substituting violence for storytelling, but it sounds to me like you've never even watched the show to see the story that they're telling to begin with. You're a parent, set whatever rules you want for your kids. But don't turn your personal problem into everyone else's problem too. Not everyone feels the same way you do, and not everyone parent's the same way you do. Just remember that, the next time you see a little blood on TV.

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